By Francie Healy

When autumn winds start to blow, we know what’s coming.

Winter. Snow. Cold. And the energy bills we have to pay just to keep ourselves comfortable.

But there’s good news. All you have to do is look out the window. Or rather, at it.

Dave Sneyd of Window Works says one of the most valuable things you can do if you’re considering a renovation or addition is to pay close attention to the kind of windows you choose. Good windows decrease energy costs in a huge way. They make a home cozy and warm in winter and cool in summer.

He began at Window Works in Ottawa back in the 80s; two and a half years ago, he bought the company. With that much experience in all situations including heritage restorations, he knows the beauty and practicality of really great windows – his company sells Marvin Windows, primarily – and their impact not only on comfort as well as energy costs but on house resale values.

He says there’s a vast selection of styles of windows, but the really important thing to consider is the glass.

Window glass is rated according to the number of metallic oxide coatings it has. There are different options including triple glazing, but the most common one, says Dave, is Low-E2 for year-round performance and comfort. It has a double metallic coating on the inside glass surface. This means it reflects heat into the room in winter and blocks the heat of the sun and its damaging UV rays in summer.

Window Works sells to architects, contractors and designers who are involved in the renovation or building of high-end homes and condos. It has a showroom on Boyd Avenue, and it does sell to individuals, but mostly sales are in co-ordination with the architect and contractor of custom homes and additions .

Styles of windows have changed and expanded over the years (Marvin Windows has been around since 1912). Window Works specializes in providing all kinds of shapes, functions, sizes and looks.

But Dave says styles no longer determine ability to keep warmth in and heat out. The best windows are made with highly advanced technology and quality, and there are no “issues” with one style of window or another as there once was.

In Dave’s experience with Window Works, wooden windows with aluminum clad exteriors are the most popular. They might need staining or painting now and then, but their construction is such that it’s all the maintenance they need for much longer than 20 years. (The glass and exterior finish have a warranty of 20 years.)

Second place in window popularity, says Dave, are wooden windows with fibreglass exteriors. Marvin Windows also has a full line of fibreglass windows.

Besides a wide variety of windows with many options, Dave’s company sells Velux skylights and sun tunnels. They’re like rays of sunshine shining through the house year round.

With that kind of comfort, what’s winter? A mere trifle.